5 Players Green Bay Packers Must Say Goodbye to in 2012
Heading into the 2011-2012 season, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers had visions of a repeat. That vision was cut short when they lost to the New York Giants in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The Packers had weak spots throughout the season, but they were not noticed as much while they were winning. Let's take a look at what players need to go if the Packers want to get back to the Super Bowl.
1. Erik Walden
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Erik Walden was not productive this season. He accounted for just 60 tackles and three sacks.
His inability to get to the quarterback causes problems for their star outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews would routinely be double-teamed, while Walden struggled to win his one-on-one match-ups.
The Packers need someone opposite of Matthews who can be just as productive getting to the quarterback. A double threat on the outside would provide Matthews with more freedom along the defense, as opponents would now have more than one player to watch.
Walden has also been in trouble with the law this year. He was arrested for domestic violence charges and recently took a plea deal for 50 hours community service.
The Packers obviously don't need a trouble-maker on their team. They have a nice core of players who are good players on the field and good men off the field. They do not need any players who will set bad examples for other players and be a distraction.
2. Ryan Grant
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Ryan Grant looked like he was going to be the future running back for the Packers when he broke onto the scene in 2007. However, since that year, his career has regressed.
Grant averaged 37 yards a game this season, and split carries with James Starks. This is a clear sign that the Packers do not think Grant can be their running back for the future. Releasing Grant and drafting a running back will be the best scenario to find the best running back for the team.
This will enable the Packers to develop a consistent run game into their offense. This would allow for coach Mike McCarthy to insert more play action into the playbook and add another threat to this Packers offense.
Also, Grant is 29 years old. Running backs usually end the prime of their careers around age 30 and with Grant having limited success already, he wouldn't be an asset for the team in the future.
3. Jarius Wynn
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Jarius Wynn is another part of the problem of the Packers minimal pass rush. He had three sacks this season in 16 games and had trouble winning matchups at the line.
The Packers play in a 3-4 defense which means that the front seven is more dependent on the linebackers than the defensive line. However, Wynn has a minuscule effect for the Packers and can't help the linebackers make plays. In order for the blitz package to work, Wynn is going to have to get a better release off the ball and create space for the linebackers.
Wynn has shown that he does not have the ability to play the defensive end position in a 3-4 style. The Packers parting with Wynn will not only help the team but can also help Wynn's career.
The Packers can grab a defensive end from free agency or from the draft that is a better fit for their style of defense and can compliment the other players.
4. Charlie Peprah
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Charlie Peprah had an expanding role this year after Nick Collins' season was cut short after a neck injury.
He had a decent year with five interceptions and 94 tackles. If Collins is unable to return to football because of his injury, the Packers will want someone else at safety other than Peprah. The team has already considered moving Charles Woodson from cornerback to safety to fill in for Collins if he is not cleared to play.
Collins will let the team know before the draft if he can play football next season. If he is not ready to play, the Packers will need to dump Peprah and improve at the safety position, which in turn helps the cornerback spot by keeping Woodson there.
If the Packers want to move Woodson to safety, knowing how valuable he is as a cornerback, it shows the lack of faith they have in Peprah. Unlike Collins, he lacks the ability to be a difference maker and is an easy target for quarterbacks.
5. Pat Lee
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The Packers have always had high expectations for Pat Lee. They drafted him in the second round of the 2008 draft but he has never turned out to be who they thought he could be. While other cornerback's have grown around him, he shows no improvements during his time with the team.
Lee is fifth on the depth chart for the Packers and has almost no affect on the outcome of games. Woodson is aging and he doesn't have too much time left in the league so now would be a good time to draft a cornerback. Lee has not worked out, and the Packers need to cut ties.
Drafting someone new to take Lee's spot is a better idea. A new player drafted at cornerback would already be in competition for the fourth roster spot with Jarrett Bush. Assuming he wins that spot, the Packers can have a new cornerback ready to play at the slot position or next to Tramon Williams.